A Man’s Role In A Woman’s World

“When you marry a girl, don’t expect her to abandon her girlfriends, because you’ll never be able to take their place.”  ~ A man to his son

Truer words were never spoken.  It’s that whole DNA thing again.  A basic need that appears on an almost daily basis, to connect, to absorb, to reach out to our female counterparts – feeling completely and undeniably safe to expose whatever thoughts that happen to surface.  We know we will be accepted, but that’s a given because after all, women are from Venus, aren’t we?

But in life, there must be balance.  The yin to the yang, the black to the white, the leather to the lace.

So if I were to place an ad in the newspaper tonight, it would say something like this:

Wanted:  Seeking Males for Friendship Only – Applications now being accepted.

I’d do it because I like men, because some are strong, some are witty.  Some give that big brother feeling that women just want to embrace.  But most of all, men offer something girlfriends can’t – a perspective of life from a male’s point of view.  Men offer the other half of balance.  These friendships are easy-going and safe and are an underrated commodity that is a shame not to pursue.

 

But can men and women truly be friends?   It depends on who you’re talking to.

In college, I hooked up with Rob, who was my best male friend through my first year.  As a couple, we went bowling, watched movies, ate Chinese food in front of the TV, and took walks on the beach – sans the emotions.  It was a nice change from hanging out all the time with my three female roommates whose emotions ran to the extremes from one day to the next.

Then there was Chuck, Dave, and Dave (yes, two) who were always up for taking me and my roommates out clubbing.  Again, just as friends, and if there was any sexual tension between any of us, we never let it get in the way of our friendship.

Is this the exception rather than the rule?  What happens when there is attraction on one side?  What if two people met at the wrong time in each other’s lives and a relationship beyond friends is not an option?

A friend told me once that in order for men and women to be friends, the attraction had to run its course and then, only then, could the two be friends.

And if it didn’t run its course?  We could walk away, but then we literally toss out any chance of interaction with a person we were attracted to in the first place.  It’s a case of cutting off our nose to spite our face, and both sides usually feel the loss.

The end result of any relationship doesn’t have to be the progression of the human race or co-habitation in order to fall into the roles society has set up.

Friendships between men and women can be….just because.

What about you?  Do you think men and women can be friends?  If you are married, do either of you have opposite-sex friends?  If not, do you find yourself missing it?  I’d love to know!

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About Diana Murdock

California-grown, writer of contemporary and YA paranormal with enough energy to write, raise two boys, run, and dream.

Posted on August 8, 2011, in Personal, Relationships, Women and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Interesting idea. I’ve had a number of male friends in my life. These have been (and are) precious friendships, sometimes brotherly, sometimes not. In Australia, we say we are mates. No sexual tension has marred any of these friendships. I think it is completely valid that men and women can be friends without attraction getting in the way (or running its course). I’m not attracted to someone just because they’re a man and I’m a woman and we’re both straight! Likewise, my lesbian friends aren’t attracted to me, either. I’m married and my husband and I both have good friends of the opposite sex.

  2. Jillian Dodd - Glitter, Bliss and Perfect Chaos

    I think you’re right. Men make great friends. They are no nonsense, don’t care about drama, and give you a completely different perspective. Great post!!

  3. I’ve always had male friends who are friends only, and there’s never been any sexual tension (that I noticed anyway). I’m married, they’re friends with both my husband and me, and life goes on.

    As much as I enjoy my female friends, sometimes all I want to do is hang with the guys, drink beer, and tinker with cars. It’s wonderfully relaxing when the most emotionally fraught discussion revolves around the relative merits of the specs on the new cam. 🙂

  4. I’d have to agree. I have numerous male friends (many acquired before I met my husband – and some have become his friend too). The relationships I enjoy with male friends are different because, well…they’re men. We view life from different points of view and of course, come from different experience. The best conversations we have center around the differences in our perceptions because we are different sexes.

  5. I’ve always had a few male friends although since I got married, that number severely reduced. Now they are mostly fellow writers or my girlfriends’ significant others. I like to get my male friends’ perspective when I’m struggling with something in life. It’s just so refreshing to talk to one of them—they make me see things differently and I often understand where I might be wrong.

  6. Great post! Yes, men and women can be friends. I am happily in-love and married to an amazing man (Steve)…but my best friend in all the world is a male (Forrest). Because Forrest is so respectful of Steve, always including Steve in emails and conversations, Steve and Forrest are now friends too.

    However, when I first met my husband, his best friend was a woman…a caddy, brassy, possessive woman who did not respect me whatsoever. She made it very clear to him she was not ready to “share” him with another woman. So because she refused to play nice and did not follow THE GIRL CODE (Girls, you know what I mean by this), she is no longer his best friend! All she had to do was respect me as his girlfriend and kindly make a little room…but she refused and demanded Steve to choose. Sidenote: I WON! 🙂

    RESPECT! Learn the boundaries well and friendships can blossom just fine, regardless of sex.

  7. Great post. I have a couple of male friends – a couple – and I really enjoy their company. But I miss working with guys, as I did for years in a San Francisco publishing company, and later in Napa Valley wine-tasting rooms. I do think men and women can be friends as long as – see above comment – they know the boundaries.

  8. I think men and women should be able to just be friends. It’s probably possible too, though I haven’t had any luck with it. In college, I would always hang out with my roommate and her boyfriend, and the three of us were friends. Actually, it was really nice having a guy friend because I’m not very girly and don’t relate well to those who are (*cough* roommate). There was no sexual tension between the guy and me whatsoever, but jealousy reared its ugly head, and I had to stop hanging out with them whenever he was around. I don’t know, I guess I got scared off after that, because I haven’t made an effort to be close friends with any guys since.

  9. Hi, Diana. Apparently, I’ve seen When Harry Met Sally too many times. As soon as I read your question, I could hear Billy Crystal go into his monologue about it being impossible for men and women to be friends…
    Thankfully, that was only a movie, right?
    I would agree that is possible for me to be very good friends with a woman and not have any sexual tension with her. Life would be so dull with only one woman in my life. Getting past the tension part is simply a maturity that every guy needs to reach.

    -Jimmy

  10. Absolutely! I had male friends all through high school and ever since. As you say, they are a great counterbalance to female friendships.

    Most of my male friends have moved away or their wives had a problem with our platonic friendship, so I’m pretty much male friendless right now. That’s okay since I’m so busy with my family and writing that I don’t miss it too much.

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